Market Report: Sainsbury's leaping after horse all-clear

Horse-free meat is on the menu at Sainsbury's and its shares were gobbled up as the rest of the stock market slumped. Sainsbury's confirmed no horse meat was found in its beef products following 250 tests in line with the Food Standards Agency rules. Sainsbury's had withdrawn some burger lines last month amid the food scandal but has now confirmed it has not found any traces of horse DNA.

In a day of very few gainers on the benchmark index, Sainsbury's shares were in third place on the table of risers – its shares put on 2.7p to 337.8p.

Its chief executive Justin King last week insisted he did not think the contamination was widespread and said it is not "the tip of an iceberg" for the food industry. The "horse meat adulteration scandal" as analysts at Shore Capital describe it, could be a force for change in the food supply chain for supermarkets. Shore's analysts think there is an "improving basis to believe that brighter skies may be ahead for the reputable end of the meat-processing industry".

Sainsbury's has been winning on a few fronts compared with larger rival Tesco recently. Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel found Sainsbury's was the only one of the big four to see its market share grow in December.

Tesco's shares dipped 0.75p to 373.65p, but beat the overall market.

The benchmark index was rattled by news from the United States on Wednesday night. The FTSE 100 index had reached a five-year high on Wednesday but after the US Federal Reserve's minutes suggested that quantitative easing could be drawn to a close sooner rather than later, investors were booking profits. The Footsie lost 103.83 points to 6291.54.

Matt Basi, a senior sales trader at CMC Markets UK, said: "Equity traders have thrown a global tantrum, taking chips off the table in a clear indication that they don't want to play without the Fed adding liquidity to the pot."

Top of the tree was BAE Systems. It revealed a fall in profits but launched a £1bn share buyback, and its shares surged by 13.7p to 345.9p.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan took a look at Glasgow engineer Weir Group, which will report results next week. Both concluded the shares are worth a buy as they think fracking activity could boost sales. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground to fracture shale rocks to release gas.

The method might be controversial but analysts reckon the fracking industry is taking off. JPMorgan upgraded Weir to buy as "frack activity is poised to rise". It gave the shares a target of 2,500p. While Bank of America Merrill Lynch gave them a 2,300p share price target. But the shares were down, in line with the rest of the market, and lost 30p to 2,158p.

Investec's Ian Gordon was at it again with his dislike for Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS has been the worst-performing UK bank in the year to date and Mr Gordon warned: "Life really isn't getting much easier for RBS." Mr Gordon's sell stance is nothing new but he reckons the bank still has a lot of bad news to unload in its fourth-quarter update next week. He thinks it will reveal an attributable loss of £2.2bn "or £5.6bn for full-year 2012 earnings".

RBS shares were down 7.6p at 346.5p and Mr Gordon gave it a 290p target.

On the mid-tier index, Cambridge-based microchip maker CSR was top, up 47.3p to 432.7p, hitting a two-year high after revealing record sales.

Over on Aim, Fastnet Oil & Gas has acquired an option to farm in to the Petronas-owned Deep Kinsale prospect, offshore southern Ireland. One of Fastnet's main backers is Cove Energy founder and chief executive John Craven. Fastnet's shares trickled up 0.38p to 25.62p.

Life sciences company ValiRx appointed Samuel Ogunsalu as its new chief commercial officer and its shares added 0.01p to 0.58p.

Today is the deadline for private-equity group EME Capital to make an offer or walk away from jeweller to the stars Theo Fennell. The shares glistened up 0.25p to 11.25p in anticipation of news. The jeweller, a favourite of Sir Elton John and Victoria Beckham, revealed disappointing Christmas sales last month and had said its full-year results would be "materially below management expectations."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
An Apple iPhone 6 stands on display at the Apple Store
businessRegulators give iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the green light
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) - Hertfordshire/Middlesex

£300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style